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New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur already has reached a pair of milestones during his 14th NHL season. On Saturday, he may get the chance to do something he's yet to achieve in his career.
Brodeur looks to move into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time shutout list - and post his first against Columbus - when the Devils meet the Blue Jackets for just the third time in New Jersey.
The future Hall of Famer made 29 saves for his 82nd career shutout, tying him with Jacques Plante for fourth on the all-time list, in the Devils' 2-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Once he passes Plante, Brodeur will trail only Glenn Hall (84), George Hainsworth (94) and Terry Sawchuk (103).
"All these names, it's hard to imagine myself along side of them," said Brodeur, who posted his 450th career win on Oct. 18 with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. "It's a fun ride I am having."
Columbus is one of six teams Brodeur has never shut out. He has started all seven of the Devils' games against the Blue Jackets, going 3-3 with a tie and a 2.67 goals-against average.
Brodeur is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 2.60 GAA at Continental Airlines Arena this season. Overall, he is 5-4-0 with a 3.02 GAA.
Zach Parise and Patrik Elias scored power-play goals in Thursday's win. Despite leading the Atlantic Division by one point over Pittsburgh, New Jersey's offense has sputtered for much of the season.
New Jersey (5-4-1) is the only division leader to score fewer goals than it has allowed, and Elias may be part of the reason.
After scoring 16 goals in only 38 games during a 2005-06 season that was shortened while he recovered from hepatitis A, Elias signed a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Devils. His goal Thursday was his second in 10 games, putting him on pace for only 17 this season.
Elias had scored no fewer than 28 goals between 1999-2004 and had a career-high 40 in 2000-01.
New Jersey may be without Elias' linemate Scott Gomez, who suffered a groin injury in the second period of the win over Florida and didn't return.
"You never like to see injuries. Gomers a big part of our hockey club," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "Throughout the year, youre always going to go through injuries."
Gomez has a team-high eight assists, and with 11 points trails only Brian Gionta for the club lead.
Columbus (3-4-1) snapped a four-game slide with a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night. Pascal Leclaire made 38 saves for his first NHL shutout.
"I haven't had a lot of shutouts in my life (at any level), but the most important thing tonight is that we won," said the 24-year-old Leclaire, who has never faced the Devils.
Leclaire is 1-1 in two road starts this season, but has allowed four goals each time.
Columbus' 19 goals scored are the fewest in the Western Conference.
Rick Nash, who's scored 72 goals over the last two seasons for Blue Jackets, has failed to find the back of the net in his last five games. It's his longest stretch without a goal since an eight-game span from Jan. 29-Feb. 20, 2004.